Messina 1509–1557: A Centre for Artistic Experimentation

Anna Chiara Giusa, M.A.

The PhD project takes as its subject sixteenth-century Messina as a dynamic centre for artistic experimentation over a period of nearly fifty years (1509-1557). The inquiry adopts an interdisciplinary approach that analyses the socio-economic, political, cultural and religious characteristics of this international port city and investigates why Messina became one of the most original artistic centres in sixteenth-century Italy.
This study focuses on the experimental works produced in Messina by artists coming from the peninsula, such as Cesare da Sesto, Polidoro da Caravaggio, Giovan Battista Mazzolo and Giovan Angelo Montorsoli, as well as by locals like Girolamo Alibrandi and Stefano Giordano. The project has a twofold purpose: on the one hand, to shed light on the relationships between Messina and other important centres like Naples, Rome and Genoa; on the other, to explore how four viceroys from different backgrounds affected Messinese patronage. This thesis will hence be divided into three chronological sections corresponding to the joint rule of the Spanish Hugo de Moncada and the Neapolitan Ettore Pignatelli (1509–1535), of the Mantuan Ferrante Gonzaga (1535–1546) and of the Spanish Juan de Vega (1547–1557).

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